The Heysen Trail is one of the world’s great walking trails and the longest dedicated walking trail in Australia. First dreamed up in the mid-1940s, the trail is named after Sir Hans Heysen, one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, who made a career painting the beautiful landscapes that feature along the trail.
The 1,200 km trail starts at Cape Jervis and winds along the beaches and sea cliffs of the south coast before passing over rolling hills and rural landscapes of the Fleurieu Peninsula and Mt Lofty Ranges. Beyond Mt Bryan, the trail crosses over to the rugged peaks and valleys of the Flinders Ranges as it heads to Parachilna Gorge where it ends.
While I would like to walk the trail end to end over 60 days or so, unfortunately this has not been possible. The trail is divided up into about 60 smaller sections. So I am walking the trail in sections. The sections I have walked so far are in pink. Which is about 309 Kilometres so far.
Several sections have been as training hikes for other walks or as part of the JLF Trek fundraising challenge for bowel cancer awareness. The JLF Trek is usually held along parts of the Heysen Trail. Of course I have hiked other sections just because they are there.
The Trail passes through some of South Australia’s most diverse and breath-taking landscapes, traversing coastal areas, native bush land, rugged gorges, pine forests and vineyards, as well as rich farmland and historic towns.
The trail passes through some of the most scenic parts of the state including national parks, state forests and internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, including the Barossa Valley and the stunning Wilpena Pound.
The southern section, from Cape Jervis to Spalding in the Mid North, is ideal for beginners and those with children, following the Mount Lofty Ranges.
The northern section, from Spalding to Parachilna Gorge, which is isolated and at times rugged, provides a rewarding challenge for experienced walkers.
The Trail has been designed to cater for both the serious backpacker walking the complete trail, and for the day walker who might choose to do short walks along different sections of the trail. The trail provides something for every walker, from a short stroll through the Adelaide Hills to a 60-day hike along its entire length. It is a long distance walking trail that crosses numerous landscapes and environments. Although walkers of all ages can enjoy the Heysen Trail you are advised that the majority of the trail corresponds within Classes 4-5 of the Australian 2156.1-2001 Walking Tracks–Classification and signage.
Track conditions are generally distinct with limited modification to natural surfaces. Minimal clearing of debris along the track. Gradient is limited to environmental and maintenance considerations. May include steep sections of unmodified surfaces. Facilities are generally not provided except for specific safety and environment purposes.
The Heysen Trail is closed during the fire danger season each year (usually 1 December to 30April).
Walking the Heysen Trail is free. However, fees may apply if you camp or park your vehicle in one of the state forests, national parks and reserves along the trail.
Walkers require a moderate to high degree of specialised skills such as navigation skills. Users may require maps and navigation equipment to successfully complete the track. You need to be self reliant, particularly in regard to emergency first aid and possible weather hazards.
- Heysen Trail – Cape Jervis to Trig Campground 23km
- Heysen Trail – Coastal Hike Trig Campground to Tunk Head 22.5k
- JLF Trek 2021 Day 1 – Marrabel to Kapunda 42km on the Heysen Trail South Australia
- JLF Trek 2021 Day 2 – 34 km Around Mount Crawford and Heysen Trail
- JLF Trek 2017 Day 1 Myponga to Petrel Cove Victor Harbour
- JLF Trek 2017 Day 2 Heysen Trail Tunkalilla to Petrel Cove
More information is available from the Friends of the Heysen Trail